Inauguration day will go down as one of the biggest, strangest and interesting days of my career. Woke up early, walked, waited, shot, waited, froze, shot then walk again. Edit for another few hours and then sleep.
Got to see Obama walk down the parade route, only an hour behind schedule and after many hours of waiting around. The lines to get in to the secure area were terrible, you’ll see pictures of people who had waited for many many more hours than I. It was a day of patience and just a little bit of reward. As I said in the post before this, I am very excited I was able to be in DC to make these pictures. The hardships all of us on the streets faced will soon be forgotten and the positive memories will remain. Selective memory of course, but we were there.
I think the enduring memory of this week for me will be these vendors who were selling all manor of Obama-themed crap on the streets of DC. The vendors’ personalities and the real (American consumerist derived) enthusiasm for their wares shown by almost all of the people on the streets really spoke to an underlying nature of the spectacle and self-awareness by participants in the ‘historic nature’ of their being there. This, I guess, provided the market for $1 “I was there!” bookmarks. I guess that I finish thinking that even though we were aware what we were making history and acted like it, that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t still an honest, earnest thing.
Telling too was the day after. Here are a few pictures from Wednesday afternoon in DC … the cleanup, the happy crowds (much much happier than everywhere else before … a commenter on BagNewsNotes had it right. I think it was just too cold to smile, even though people knew the gravity of the moment around them and were truly excited about being there. Why else, really, would they have traveled a distance, gotten up so early only to wait in the deep cold for so long.) Wednesday, though, was all about the ‘new day’ weather. It was warmer, sunny. It created a different mood. Lighter, wonderful, relaxed. A sigh of relief and contentment after pomp and ceremony. Even the Police were smiling. Again, maybe this was just my reaction bleeding into the pictures (it happens for all photographers, journalists, storytellers) but that is the very point.
Thanks for looking everyone. Be sure to check out our partner BagNewsNotes for great analysis of these pictures and many more. Particularly, you must see my colleague Alan Chin’s work from DC called, appropriately, the First Draft of History. It gets to the heart of what his aims were in covering this. Well done Alan and Michael, thanks very much for the opportunity to work alongside you.